Albumin Blood Test

Albumin Blood Test - ALB; reasons for the examination, its precautions, and the results

Albumin Blood Test – ALB. What is the albumin test, what precautions are taken before it is performed, and what do its results indicate?

The albumin blood test measures the amount of albumin in a blood sample. It can be used to help diagnose a variety of medical conditions, including liver and kidney problems.

What is an Albumin Blood Test?

The serum albumin test measures the amount of albumin in your blood. Low albumin levels can indicate kidney or liver disease or some other medical condition. High levels could indicate dehydration.

Albumin is a protein made by the liver It is approximately 60% of the total protein in the blood, and enters your bloodstream to help prevent fluid from leaking out of your blood vessels into other tissues. It also transports hormones, vitamins, enzymes,  substances such as calcium, and medications throughout your body. Fluid can leak out of your blood and accumulate in your lungs, abdomen (belly), or other parts of your body if you do not have enough albumin.

Albumin can be tested alone or as part of a panel of measurements such as the comprehensive metabolic panel or liver panel.

Brief Description of serum albumin Test

Other names ALB, serum albumin test
Test purpose diagnose liver or kidney disease; sometimes used to assess nutritional status
preparation There is no special preparation required
specimen Serum or Plasma
Reference range 3.4 – 5.4 g/dl
Methodology Colorimetric assay with endpoint method

purpose of albumin Blood Test

An albumin blood test is used to assess your overall health as well as the function of your liver and kidneys.
There are two major causes of low blood albumin levels:

  1. Severe liver disease: because albumin is produced by the liver, its level can fall with the loss of liver function; however, this usually happens only when the liver is severely damaged.
  2. Kidney disease: one of the kidneys’ many functions is to conserve plasma proteins such as albumin so that they do not mix with waste products when urine is produced. Albumin is present in high concentrations in the blood, and virtually no albumin is lost in the urine when the kidneys are functioning properly. When a person’s kidneys are damaged or diseased, they lose their ability to conserve albumin and other proteins. This is common in chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Very large amounts of albumin are filtered through the kidneys in nephrotic syndrome.

Who should perform albumin test?

As part of the routine checkup, your doctor may order an alb test. The test could be ordered as part of liver function tests or as part of a comprehensive metabolic panel. If you have symptoms of liver or kidney disease, you may also require this test.

Liver disease symptoms include:

  • Jaundice is a condition in which the skin and eyes turn yellow.
  • Dark pee and/or light stool (poop)
  • Fatigue
  • vomiting and nausea
  • Appetite deficiency
  • Swelling and/or abdominal pain (belly)
  • ankle and leg swelling
  • Itching that is frequent

Kidney disease symptoms include:

  • Hand and foot swelling, as well as puffy eyelids
  • Urination, either increased or decreased
  • Urine that has a bloody or foamy appearance
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Breathing difficulties Sleep issues
  • Itching, numbness, or dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss and weight loss
  • Cramps in the muscles
  • Having difficulty thinking clearly

Some kidney diseases, such as chronic kidney disease, may not cause symptoms until later stages.

How does a serum albumin test perform?

Albumin Blood Test
Serum Albumin Test

in the laboratory, a blood sample from a vein in the arm is being collected for an albumin blood test.

  1. First, your skin was cleaned with an alcohol swab or an antiseptic wipe.
  2. The tourniquet is then tied around your upper arm to cause your veins to swell with blood. This makes it easier for them to collect the specimen.
  3. Once the vein has been found, the healthcare provider inserts a needle attached to a vial and draws blood.
  4. It might sting a little, but the whole thing will be over in a minute or less.

“Related: Bacteria culture test; Types and result interpretations

Is there anything I need to do to prepare for the test?

There are no special preparations required to test for albumin in the blood.

If your doctor has ordered additional blood tests, you may be required to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours prior to the test. If there are any special instructions to follow, your provider will notify you.

Certain medications may have an impact on your test results, so inform your provider of any medications you are taking. However, do not discontinue any medications without first consulting with your provider.

What does the finding indicate?

The results of albumin testing are compared to those of other tests performed at the same time, such as those included in the liver panel, renal panel, or metabolic panel.

Low levels of albumin (hypoalbuminemia) may indicate:

  1. liver disease: Cirrhosis, hepatitis, and fatty liver disease.
  2. Kidney failure
  3. Malnutrition
  4. Infection
  5. Carcinoid disease
  6. Digestive disorders: Crohn’s disease and malabsorption disorders.
  7. Burns that cover a large portion of your body
  8. Thyroid dysfunction (hypothyroidism)
  9. Increased blood volume is caused by congestive heart failure and, in some cases, pregnancy.
  10. Starvation
  11. Medicines, such as birth control pills.

High levels of albumin may indicate dehydration caused by severe diarrhea or other conditions.

If your albumin levels are higher than normal, it does not always indicate that you have a condition that requires treatment. Certain drugs, such as steroids, insulin, and hormones, can cause an increase in albumin levels.

The results of this test may be inaccurate in the case of patients receiving large amounts of intravenous liquid or drinking too much water.

Related tests

  • albumin/globulin ratio, a/g
  • microalbumin test, or albumin to creatinine ratio
  • Albumin in urine
  • Total Protein
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
  • Liver Function
  • Renal Panel

A serum albumin blood test cannot be used to diagnose a condition on its own. To make a diagnosis, your provider will usually combine the results of your albumin test with the results of other measurements.

If your albumin levels are normal but you have a family history of liver or kidney disease, you should ask your doctor if regular serum albumin tests are necessary.

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